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Why Are Bikes So Expensive? [8 Reasons 2023]


Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the world. Experts believe that the global cycling market could account for over $78 billion by 2026.

However, cycling is an expensive sport, with one of the greatest investments being the bike.

Bikes are expensive because manufacturers spend a lot of resources for research and design. High-quality materials and quality control protocols add up to those prices. Marketing and retail markups, as well as overhead costs, also drive prices up. Ultimately, customer customization requests can make bikes even more expensive. 

1. Research & Design

Bikes come in many different styles. Some are designed to be ridden on the road. Others are made for gravel or cross country, while some are even electric, with motors that help the rider tackle difficult tracks. 

Each category requires specific design and material research. This helps manufacturers craft bikes manufactured for the intended activity.

Product research also helps improve existing models or address specific market demands. However, research is expensive, and it is factored in the final price of the bike.

2. Product Materials

High-quality bikes are generally made of last-generation materials such as titanium and carbon fiber. 

Steel and aluminum frames are also reengineered to reduce the frame weight and improve performance. At the same time, these materials are strong and provide excellent aerodynamics. 

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While bikes made of these materials are made to last, they are also expensive. 

3. Personalization/Customized Orders

Customized bikes offer something mainstream models cannot: quality, fit, and performance.

Some manufacturers and retailers offer customization options to their customers. Independent bike shops can build the model of your dreams from scratch. 

However, both options drive costs up – having a bike made to measure can cost anywhere between $2,500 and $8,800

4. Quality Control & Manufacturing

Generally, streamline bikes found in larger retail centers are made in batches. The manufacturer only has to pay once for research and product design.

However, even if the bike construction process is automatic, final adjustments must be made manually

After a bike is built, a skilled worker must also control it to make sure it meets all safety and quality standards. 

All these steps and processes cost money, driving up the prices of bikes. 

5. Overhead Costs 

In addition to direct production and product development costs, manufacturers also have overhead costs. 

These costs refer to general expenses businesses have, such as rent, utilities, insurance, etc.

While these costs are not directly involved in the development of a bike, they can account for up to 15% of the bike’s cost. 

6. Retailer Markups

The retailer markup is the percentage a retailer applies to the wholesale or factory price of goods and services.

These markups allow retailers to make a profit when selling those products, and there is no “normal” markup within any given sector. 

This means that dealers and bike shops can add any desired percentage to the factory price.

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For this reason, you might find the same bike model sold at different prices by different dealers or retailers.

7. Marketing Costs

Marketing helps manufacturers advertise their product, and retailers showcase their inventory to customers. 

The price of both manufacturer and dealer or retailer marketing campaigns is included in the final price of the bike. 

8. Current Market Standings

Depending on the market, the general costs of supplies and labor can directly affect how expensive a bike is. 

The current market is carrying a lot of inflation, which can directly affect the bike’s overall cost. 

Producers have to pay more for supplies and other operating costs, overhead costs, and marketing. Since the economy can fluctuate, so can the prices of bikes. 


Bikes are expensive because they are made of costly materials.

The research and product design, customization options, and the manufacturer’s operating and overhead costs can all affect the final price. 

Retailer markups, marketing campaigns, and the current economic situation are other things that make bikes expensive.

Nevertheless, a bike can be a worthy investment.